By Dr. Ian Billinghurst
© 1993, reprinted with permission
Dr. Billinghurst is self published.
His books can be purchased from his web site
Dogs Eat Bones
If dogs are to become and remain healthy, its diet must be based on raw meaty bones.
Are bones dangerous? That question is uppermost in many people’s mind. The answer is …yes, but only if they are cooked. Dogs are not designed to deal with cooked bones. Cooked bones are harder, more brittle and more splintery than raw bones. They are the ones most likely to be caught in the mouth, to pierce the intestines, to set like concrete in the large bowel, or stick like fish hooks into the rectum. All those events are bad news for dogs. The long and the short of it is…Don't feed cooked bones. They are unnatural and a danger to dogs.
Raw Bones are Completely Different! Whilst cooked bones are potentially fatal for dogs, raw bones in my experience, and in the experience of numerous dog owners, dog breeders, and other veterinary surgeons have been the only single food item that guarantees a dog will have excellent health. This is hardly surprising. It’s a dog’s heritage.
Bones and Dental Health. Bones are Nature’s toothbrush for dogs. As dogs chew on bones, rip the flesh off bones, crush bones, that very action cleans the teeth, and massages the gums, stopping tarter, gum infections, tooth root decay, dental abscesses, and a whole body poisoned by a grossly infected mouth. An extremely common condition in today’s dog fed on soft mush convenience food. The rise in the incidence of mouth problems has paralleled the increase in consumption of processed food, together with the decline in consumption of raw meaty bones. The result of no bones on a dog’s menu, processed food only, is teeth covered in TARTER, receding gums, tooth root decay, and the most vile, stinking mouth infection. Left untreated that mouth infection, spreads via the blood stream,and may lodge in other organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, prostrate, uterus, etc. The rapid increase in canine dental problems over the last years has spawned.
Bones ..Essential Nutrition for a Dog. Bones are full of vital nutrients for dogs. Because bones are living tissue, just like any other part of the body, they are a complex source of a wide variety of nutrients. Bones contain minerals which are embedded in protein. They also contain fat. With the fat are fat soluble vitamins and the central part of most bones contains marrow which is a highly nutritious mix of blood forming elements, including iron. Raw bones also provide natural anti-oxidant/anti-ageing factors including enzymes.
Bones Provide Your Dog with all the Minerals it Requires. Bones are nature’s storehouse of minerals for your dog. They contain calcium and phosphorus in perfect balance, together with all other minerals essential for your dog’s normal functioning. Bones are the storehouse of all the minerals your dog requires in perfect balance, and in the perfect form for optimal absorption with no excesses or deficiencies. It is natural for dogs to eat bones. A dog’s body is designed to use bones as it’s main source of minerals. This is what dog’s bodies have been doing for millions of years.
Protein in Bones. Fresh bones contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts with the exception of methioine. The amino acid lysine, essential for normal bone growth is present in large quantities. Fortunately methionine is found in abundance in meat. This means that raw meaty bones contain your dog’s total protein requirements.
The Marrow in Bone. When your dog eats bones, your dog is receiving many of the nutrients which help produce blood and a healthy, well functioning immune system. This is because the bone marrow is where blood is formed and it is also part of the immune system of an animal. When your dog eats raw bones, he or she is consuming all the important blood forming nutrients, particularly cooper and iron.
Raw Bones Prolong Your Dog’s Life. Bone eating dogs are long lived healthy dogs. They seem to be particularly free of the degenerative diseases of old age.
Beef or Chicken Bones? Raw chicken, on the bone is without a doubt the very best form in which to feed your dog most of its requirements of raw meaty bones. I often recommend chicken wings. DON'T FEED COOKED CHICKEN BONES TO YOUR DOG. There is an incredible difference between cooked and raw chicken! Beef bones may be older and will probably be harder. Most butchers and supermarkets will supply bags full of bony off-cuts. We think of these off-cuts, as good general bones.
Buried Bones. We all know that dogs bury bones, saving them for later on. In the case of raw bones, they slowly decompose under the action of their own enzymes. It is quite healthy for your dog to eat these buried bones, as long as it was a buried RAW BONE. It is nutritious for your dog. It just has different qualities to fresh bone, similar to aged meat. With cooked bones in which all the enzymes have been destroyed, the resulting rotten bone could possibly make your dog sick. Buried cooked bones cannot decompose under the action of their own enzymes because they have been destroyed by the cooking process. Instead, they are attacked by bacteria, which can produce dangerous toxins such as Botulism, a deadly paralysis.
Meaty Bones Provide Incredible Exercise For Your Dog. Meat left on the bone means your dog will have to rip, tear, and chew at it. This is the way nature intended your dog to eat. It is part of keeping your dog healthy. It is vitally important for your dog’s health that it eats its food in as natural a form as possible. All that exercise of chewing, ripping, and tearing at large clomps of bones and meat is a benefit to dogs of all ages.